This specialized mini PC can be configured to act as a firewall or router thanks to the inclusion of six 2.5 GbE cards. Despite a fanless design, these solutions also come with Alder Lake-U processors that can provide enough power for multimedia tasks.
Over the past few years, there has been a tendency to expand the port selection on mini PC models to suit particular needs. For instance, this year’s Asus PN64-E1 offers up to five video outputs for the ultimate HTPC experience, but there also are mini PCs that focus on the networking side with no less than six 2.5 GbE jacks. With so many dedicated ethernet ports, users can easily configure these devices to act as routers, yet they still provide enough compute power for multimedia tasks thanks to the jump from Celeron-class processors to more powerful models from Intel’s Alder Lake-U family.
Such networking-oriented mini PCs can be acquired from Chinese brands like Topton and Kingdel that recently added updated “Fanless Soft Router” models to their AliExpress online outlets. Processor options include the i3-1215U, i5-1235U and i7-1265U, which can be complemented by up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM through 2x SO-DIMM slots and up to 2 TB of PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD storage plus a 2.5-inch storage drive. The fanless cooling system features aluminum-alloy fins on top of the chassis, while the CPU is connected to a copper heatsink with two copper heat pipes. An additional fan can be connected on the lower side to improve cooling for RAM.
For the networking side, the mainboard comes with 6x Intel i-225V 2.5 Gb cards and jacks. Additionally, users can install a Wi-Fi card via the provided M.2232 slot. Other ports include 2x USB-A 3.0, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-C with DP mode, HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4 video outs and a TF card slot. Chassis measures 146 x 145 x 54 mm (5.75 x 5.71 x 2.13 inches) and can be easily mounted with a VESA socket.
Prices start at ~US$370 for the barebones version with i3 processor. Users may also opt to buy fully configured systems with RAM and storage. The i7 model with 64 GB of RAM and 2 TB NVMe SSD costs US$1,196.
Bogdan Solca – Senior Tech Writer – 1919 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I’m also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior tech writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
Bogdan Solca, 2023-01-18 (Update: 2023-01-18)